Thursday, December 09, 2010

Don Meredith: RIP

Those remembering Don Meredith's stint on Monday Night Football recall how he sang the Willie Nelson song, "Turn Out the Lights, the Party's Over," late in the broadcast when the game had been decided. 

But I remember other moments. During a game at Dallas, as the camera focused on the famously sexy Dallas Cheerleaders---which, alas, they never do anymore---Meredith quipped, "Sex and violence. You can sell it." That's the way I remember it, but others recall him saying "Sex and violence. That will sell every time!" or “And for those of you who’d like a little sex with your violence…” However it was phrased exactly, it was funny, and, not surprisingly, the management at ABC wasn't too happy about it.

And I recall the hilarity among viewers in my apartment after the famous shot, before the advent of five-second delay, of a disgruntled Houston Oilers fan flipping the bird to a national TV audience during a Monday night game when the Oilers were getting thrashed by the Raiders.

Here's a nice tribute to Meredith.

ABC was a television backwater in 1970, having never so much as finished second in the three network sweepstakes that was pre-cable American TV. ABC had only tasted the top ranking for a few weeks in the fall of 1964, when its new hit "Bewitched" caught the nation’s fancy. Ratings were so bad at the network that an industry joke asked, “How do you end the Vietnam War? Put it on ABC. It will be over in 13 weeks.”

And candidate Obama in 2008 showed that he was a sports fan with a good sense of humor when he staged a mock special announcement before a Monday Night Football game in Chicago:

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